What is That Overused Word?

woman with finger to lips

Welcome to another Savvy Sunday. It’s the time of the weekend when savvy pros have to peek at their email (at least once) and maybe even prepare themselves for the upcoming week. The great news about doing that is that it doesn’t take all that long, and it makes a huge difference in mindset and productivity for the upcoming week.

So, indulge me for just a moment…As you think about content and sharing about your business and/or your book, and as you consider what others share, there is one word that I think is way over used….

What is that overused word?

Authenticity, or “being authentic”.

What exactly does that mean anyway? I sure hear it bandied about a lot.

So I thought, “Hey, what is the actual definition of ‘authentic’ in the dictionary?”

Dictionary.com had quite a few definitions, but two really stood out within this context are as follows:


  • not false or copied; genuine;  real
  • representing one’s true  nature or beliefs; true to  oneself or to the person identified

So what makes you authentic throughout your platform, such as on your blog and on various social media channels? What exactly does this mean?

After all, I’m sure you’ve seen those people who over share. You know what I mean, e.g., someone explaining how difficult their last bipolar cycle was, or how challenging it is to get off drugs, or how some experience from childhood still haunts them. Just this last week, a business woman who seems fairly successful shared about how she used to cut herself. (Yikes!)

Now, I’m not saying there isn’t a place for this kind of conversation, but it depends on the context. For example, posts from an author who overcame some difficulty or personal tragedy and that is what his or her book is about. Or maybe raising awareness for some charity would require very personal sharing to encourage others to contribute to the cause. There are exceptions to this kind of deep sharing, but by and large, the really personal stuff is just that….really personal, and for most people in business these  conversations may work against them.

That said, there is the other side of the coin: Those who don’t share enough. You’ve seen people like this too. They have a new business they’re launching or a new book and suddenly its “sell, sell, sell” and they’re beating people over the head with it! There’s little or no thought about how to actually pull people in so that they want to know what you’re up to and they want to become a customer or client.

Two extremes and like so many things in life, all things in moderation.

And that is the secret. You want it to be just right. It’s like Goldilocks. You want to share enough about yourself so that people feel like they know you and like you, but not so much that it leaves them wondering, “Now why would he (or she) share that?!” TMI.

The entire conversation around authenticity reminds me of when I first got into radio broadcasting. This was before social media when people actually used the radio at work to feel connected to the outside world. I remember early in my career, I realized that I had to create what I call a “public-private self.” This is where you decide the kinds of things you’re willing to share and what remains personal to you.

Hint: It’s better to keep your deepest, darkest secrets to yourself, unless your business is all about telling deep, dark secrets! I once heard that you should only share the things in your life that you would be willing to read on the cover of the New York Times…and now on the first page of a Google search. It’s a good litmus test.

The point is, we all have to develop a “public-private self” now. This is the world we are in and we’re all connected now. To not do so makes one seem aloof.

Over sharing is, well, TMI.

You get to decide what works for  you. If you’re unsure, do a little research and then test it.

  • Make a list of your niche mates; they are the people who share your niche within your business. What kinds of things do they share? Is it a nice balance, or do they tend to go to one extreme or the other?
  • Research people you admire. Make note of the kinds of topics they share. Decide what works for you and what doesn’t.
  • Test it. Share about yourself and see what gets the most engagement from others…and what leads to conversion. That really is the most important part of the process. Lots of people have friends and followers and aren’t selling anything. It’s important to know what’s hooking people, when they become raving fans, and when they buy from you.

The point it of all of this is that the power is within you. Authenticity is not sharing every deep part of your psyche. It’s you getting to decide what works and what doesn’t…for you.

I’m interested in knowing your thoughts about this. What do you consider over sharing? What do you consider just right? And does this change?

Have an amazing upcoming week.

To your success!

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